Mon, Nov 15, 2004 - Page 3 News List

Legislative Elections: Chen may be DPP's first Aboriginal legislator

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chen Ying, DPP legislative candidate and daughter of the Council of Indigenous People, Chairman Chen Chien-nien, plays a guitar a campaign event.

PHOTO: FANG PIN-CHAO, LIBERTY TIMES

Dubbed "the most beautiful daughter of the Puyuma tribe," the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) Aboriginal candidate, Chen Ying (陳瑩), undertakes a historic task in potentially becoming the first-ever Aboriginal candidate to hold a seat in the legislature under the DPP banner -- with high expectations from her father, Council of Indigenous Peoples (CIP) Chairman Chen Chien-nien (陳建年).

Having obtained her master's degree in music at the University of Illinois two years ago, Chen Ying, 32, did not come back to Taiwan until this past June, when the DPP enlisted her to run in the legislative elections in her hometown constituency of Taitung County.

Although her father holds a position in government, Chen has little experience in politics and her academic background in music is almost irrelevant to the political task at hand. To offset her lack of experience, Chen appealed to voters' sense of justice and highlighted her enthusiasm to be a competent legislator, stressing that she is not totally unfamiliar with political activities.

"When I was a child, I was the kind of girl who liked to defend my friends against injustices," Chen said. "My Aboriginal background also gave me a deep experience of how unjust my people have been treated. I know what that feels like and it strengthens my resolution to fight for my people."

Chen also pointed out that the image of Aboriginal people has been distorted by certain Aboriginal lawmakers in the opposition, who encouraged them to protest after Vice President Annette Lu's controversial comments about Aboriginal people following a tropical storm this summer, which Chen thought it was not their nature.

She also stressed that younger generation Aboriginals should have as great a chance to enter the legislature, as the Han people.

Chen also knows her mission in the upcoming legislative election: to be the first-ever DPP Aboriginal legislator.

In the past, Taiwan's Aboriginal people have had strong ties to the KMT and chieftains were often KMT vote captains. Voting for KMT candidates has been somewhat of a tradition of Aboriginal people.

Even her father, Chen Chien-nien, was a legislator-at-large for the KMT before he took over as CIP chairman in 2002, which forced him to withdraw from the party. Not until the Kaohsiung City councilor by-election this past July did an Aboriginal candidate -- Ateng Ingay (俄鄧殷艾) -- win a position in office under the DPP banner.

Gaining the support and trust of the Aboriginal people has been one of the DPP's priorities in the legislative elections.

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